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One of my favorite thoughts, and I think it came from a movie, is that the reason to get married is to have a witness to your life. It's the sort of idea that might not strike you immediately as brilliant, but over time it unfolds.

Another great quote along those same lines - and I wish I knew who said it - goes something like "You're not a writer until a writer tells you you're a writer." I had that experience when Dilbert was first accepted for syndication, and my editor told me I was a cartoonist. Until that moment, I wasn't. Literally the moment she told me I was a cartoonist, the quality of my drawing improved about 30%.

I think this is the same reason little kids continuously chirp "Mommy, look at me! Look at me!" They are struggling to get a witness, to know they exist.

It's nice to think that you can be your own person, true and accountable to no one but yourself, but I don't think life works that way. We are what other people allow us to be. We exist more in their perceptions than in our own, if you had some way to add it all up and compare.

I was thinking of this as I finished a first draft of my survey of economists. (Yes, you will see it. I need to get it right.) I sent it to my friend whose opinion I value, asking for some comments.  As I sent it, I realized my writing doesn't fully exist until he comments. It lives in some sort of Schroedinger's cat half-state. If he likes it, then it becomes real. If not, it will quickly seem as though it never existed. I will rewrite from scratch.

The key to life is picking the right witnesses. Thanks for being mine.

 
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+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 6, 2008
Well, of course a cartoonist would see it that way. Until someone laughs, it's just doodling. (I've heard stand-up comedians express similar thoughts.)

In contrast, there's another kind of person who's perfectly capable of feeling self-worth without much, if any, confirmation from others. Their brains are just wired differently, or something. I'm like that. Call us introverts or nerds -- whatever, we really don't care *what* you call us, because we're mostly self-sufficient.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 6, 2008
You mean you don't know you're an AI experiment?
 
 
Sep 6, 2008
What about a web cast. You will have more witnesses and well you can even record the screen shots :)

I am curious to know why you haven't had an article on IITans - Where is Asok? and Ajay?
PS: By the way your feed is on my blog and I get a daily urge to throw something at you :)

Cheers
Olga Lednichenko
 
 
Sep 6, 2008
La la la la
I don't see you
La la la la
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
Does anyone know of any Dilbert comics that are about netiquette? I need it for a paper on netiquette for school and havent found anything online, but I know its gotta be out there in Dilbert-land....Help!
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
You are welcome.
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
If you have to ask "Was it good for you?"... it probably wasn't.

~ (very) personal observation
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 5, 2008
When you are, you know. When you're not sure, you wait for someone to tell you. When insecure, you prod them into telling you what you want to hear. Except in an election year, when they do that before you ask. They lie. But that's another story.
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
None of us exist. Since your witnesses don't exist, you don't, either.

Sorry.
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
Scott, you've just figured out why people post comments to other people's blogs, and why regular, boring (non-famous) people have blogs.

Knowing that you will read this comment gives my life meaning. Plus it kills valuable work time.
The only way this could be better would be if I was sitting in a Starbucks while typing this, and other people could see my typing this.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 5, 2008
It was Natalie Goldberg in her book Wild Mind, well before that Richard Gere rip-off of the original Shall We Dance? movie, who said the quote about not being a writer until another writer tells you that you are.
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
I'm very glad you posted this. I too hold onto that quote regarding marriage. And when after years of being invisible, used it in part as justification for my divorce. Take care Scott
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
Scott, Have you ever read "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand?
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 5, 2008
Sure, you're welcome...but honestly the pleasure is all mine.

Keep up the good work, you masterful cartoonist you.
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
Wait... how did the first writer ever become one?

Unless the universe is repeating itself... in a donut-shaped space-time. Hmm.
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
You signed up for the new !$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%. Good for you.
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
I think that's part of why your blog is so much more satisfying to post a comment one than any other. The fact that you will actually keep an eye on the comments and that you are open-minded and seemingly quite intelligent makes it feel like it's a worthwhile endeavor to respond to your writings. That's why it's the first RSS feed I check, and why I promptly signed up for the new !$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
The line is from "Shall We Dance" (The recent Richard Gere movie)
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
I thought the quote was "You're not a writer until someone pays you for writing."
Don't know who said it though.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 5, 2008
My personal moment like that - overheard of my boss talking to a new college graduate - "One of the benifits of working on the 4-widget is working with Atola, a senior test engineer" My jaw about hit the ground.. untill i thought about it a bit.

By the way - I'd love to see the pointy hair poss say something like that to the intern - referring to wally. I'd put that on a shirt.
 
 
 
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